There is increasing (if in places frustratingly scant) evidence that making things with your hands, especially if it involves gentle, soothing repetitive movement, brings down stress levels and can result in feelings of wellbeing similar to those experienced after a yoga session or run. At the very least there is a shift in the cocktail of neurotransmitters in the brain and those that confer feelings of wellbeing and relaxation such as serotonin and dopamine are thought to increase.
In effect, crafting and creativity could be viewed as having a possible anti-depressant effect, the full potential of which is yet to be investigated.It’s very likely that the sensory enjoyment of the softness and colour of the yarn/fabric adds to these positive effects.
If I won the lottery I’d fund a full scientific study into this, complete with live scans of the brains of crafters as they began to make after a stressful day and studies of the levels of cortisol, serotonin and dopamine before and after a session of making and in control individuals who are perhaps just watching tv rather than hooking up a wrist warmer.
With these rather wonderful thoughts in mind I decided to conjure a crochet design to tap into the potential serotonin boost that I’m certain I receive from crocheting, in order to counter the effects of the lack of sunlight at this time of year. It can be at beat draining and at worst cause a seasonal full -blown depression (seasonal affected disorder or SAD).I chose the softest yarns I could find in gentle, soothing colours to maximise the the sensory loveliness of the making.
I also tapped into the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard from other makers such as Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits of the benefits of a one-a-day style project, in which a small part of the final piece is made each day, spreading out the benefit over a longer period, like a sort of daily meditation or burst of wellbeing through making.
The result was this crocheted lacy garland.
Thrillingly the Mollie Makes team rather liked it and it is featured in Issue 61 which will be out on Thursday, and the pattern is on the Mollie Makes blog today.
These beautiful photographs of the garland and my hands making it were taken by the brilliant, kind and super talented Rachel Basinger of ohnorachio. Meeting her a few weeks ago for the shoot was the final piece in a lovely woolly jigsaw that led to this design coming to life. Here she is below, peeping into the mirror on the day of the shoot. We discovered we are kindred spirits and were in danger of chatting the entire day away.
In other making winter news the Mollie Makes team will be joining in with the #makingwinter Twitter hour next week. it takes place on Tuesday evenings between 8 & 9 (just before the Great Pottery Throw Down). If you like to tweet and have been using creativity or cake baking to ease your way through stressful or dingy wintry days do join in tonight (and in a week’s time).
The contributions to the blogshop in my last post are truly beautiful and very festive. Do link up if you fancy joining in and pop over to see the ways in which other bloggers are celebrating or cheering themselves through what can be a twinkly, but rather crazed few weeks…